Irene knew she wanted to go to university to pursue a teaching degree after graduating from high school. What she didn’t know was where she would get the funds. A year after finishing high school, she met and married her husband, and over the next 10 years, they had three children. Still, Irene’s desire to go to university remained.
In 2014, after being part of Tumaini Women Kenya (TWK) for two years, Irene took her first loan, enabling her to enroll in Mount Kenya University. In 2017, she graduated (with honors!) with a B.A. in education, majoring in Swahili and geography. Deeply grateful to have reached her goal, Irene was soon employed as a teacher.
Irene didn’t know God had so much more in store for her – opportunities reaching far beyond the classroom.
Just two years later, Irene attended a women’s conference where TWK sponsored a seminar raising awareness about the devastating impact of female genital mutilation (FGM). She learned of the impact on women, young girls, child brides and, in reality, the whole community. As Irene listened and learned from the speakers, something stirred within her. She knew this was happening in her rural area, and she knew she couldn’t not do something to stop it!
But how? Who was she? What could she do? She didn’t know what steps to take. But she knew she had to do something!
After she shared her interest and calling with TWK leaders, TWK arranged for Irene and three other group members to attend a four-day training session on how to stop FGM. Equipped with this information and training, Irene met with school principals, village elders and chiefs and began lining up speaking engagements. To date, Irene has been able to teach around 1,000 girls and women – and some men, too!
Irene says, “It is indeed my calling. I am mandated not only to sensitize others against FGM but also to create awareness on issues about child protection, sexual and gender-based violence, as well as to provide psychosocial support to girls who have undergone abuse. The scope of gender championship is broad, and I am so happy Tumaini Women Kenya trained me. Everywhere I go, I always introduce myself and Tumaini Women Kenya.”
Irene didn’t know all that God had in store – but God knew!
For more information about Tumaini Women Kenya go to www.tumainiwomenkenya.org.